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Big Ten Preview and BSD Challenge - Week 1

The off-season is over! Big Ten football is here!

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Another off-season is in the books, and the 2018 college football season is upon us. As always, we’ll be previewing the Big Ten each week, and making our picks.

This year is a little different however - rather than just picking games straight up, we’ll be going against the spread. So read on, make your own picks, and see if you know better than the masthead!

New Mexico State (0-1) at Minnesota (0-0)

Minneapolis, MN

Thursday, August 30th, 7:00 PM

Line: MINN -18.5

The New Mexico State Aggies were part of kickoff week last week, losing to Wyoming 29-7. Now they trek to the as yet unfrozen north to take on Minnesota. PJ Fleck has the Gophers rowing in the right direction, and Minnesota covers.

Minnesota 35, New Mexico St 14

Northwestern (0-0) at Purdue (0-0)

West Lafayette, IN

Thursday, August 30th, 8:00 PM

Line: PUR -2.5

This is going to be a really fun game, as both teams are going to make noise in the Big Ten West. I like Purdue to win the game, but that point spread is a bit worrisome. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a one-point game, but give me the Boilermakers to cover.

Purdue 42, Northwestern 38

Utah State (0-0) at #11 Michigan State (0-0)

East Lansing, MI

Friday, August 31st, 7:00 PM

Line: MSU -23

Despite returning a bunch of players from last year’s 10-3 squad, Michigan State has often been overlooked this off-season. They have a solid ranking, right behind Penn State and ahead of Michigan, and I think they play with house money the first few weeks. MSU covers.

Michigan State 49, Utah State 14

Western Kentucky (0-0) at #4 Wisconsin (0-0)

Madison, WI

Saturday, September 1st, 12:00 PM

Line: WIS -34.5

Wisconsin starts the season in the top four, and will be playing with a target on their back all year. They’ve had the run of the West lately, and there are enough mid-level teams that can punch above their weight class that the Badgers will need to bring their A game most weeks. While this isn’t one of those weeks, asking the Badgers to win by five touchdowns is a lot. Wisconsin wins, but doesn’t cover.

Wisconsin 42, Western Kentucky 14

Oregon State (0-0) at #5 Ohio State (0-0)

Columbus, OH

Saturday, September 1st, 12:00 PM

Line: Ohio St -37

Despite the off-season shenanigans at Ohio State, they’re still favored to win the Big Ten. Oregon State is not favored to win the Pac-12. Ohio State in a laugher.

Ohio State 56, Oregon State 14

#23 Texas (0-0) at Maryland (0-0)

Landover, MD

Saturday, September 1st, 12:00 PM

Line: TEX -13

Last year the Terrapins surprised the world by beating Texas at Texas. Then every quarterback broke and the Terps stumbled the rest of the way. I could see this being close at first, and frankly Maryland may keep the score respectable, but I’ll take the Longhorns to cover - barely.

Texas 35, Maryland 21

Kent State (0-0) at Illinois (0-0)

Champaign, IL

Saturday, September 1st, 12:00 PM

Line: ILL -16.5

Kent State is really bad at football. Illinois is also bad at football, but not quite as bad. This is one of the few games the Illini should win comfortably.

Illinois 35, Kent State 17

Texas State (0-0) at Rutgers (0-0)

Piscataway, NJ

Saturday, September 1st, 12:00 PM

Line: RUTG -16.5

Rutgers, like Illinois, is not great at football, but they did slowly improve throughout the year last year. They’ve had some off-season issues as well, but should slowly begin to crawl out of the B1G East basement. Rutgers covers.

Rutgers 28, Texas State 10

Northern Illinois (0-0) at Iowa (0-0)

Iowa City, IA

Saturday, September 1st, 3:30 PM

Line: IOWA -9.5

Northern Illinois is a solid G5 team, but this line is silly. Perhaps the bettors are remembering Iowa’s loss to North Dakota State a few years back? I think the Hawkeyes win fairly easily, more than covering the spread.

Iowa 35, Northern Illinois 17

Indiana (0-0) at Florida International (0-0)

Miami, FL

Saturday, September 1st, 7:00 PM

Line: IND -10.5

This is one of the weirder games on the docket. It’s not often you see a Power 5 team visiting a G5 team, but here we are. Indiana, as always, will be hard to predict this season, but FIU just doesn’t scare me. Hoosiers cover.

Indiana 42, FIU 24

#14 Michigan (0-0) at #12 Notre Dame (0-0)

Notre Dame, IN

Saturday, September 1st, 7:30 PM

Line: MICH -1

The biggest game on the schedule for week 1 takes place in sunny Notre Dame. This game is a toss-up, and will largely be dependent on whether Shea Patterson is the savior Michigan fans are hoping for. A flip of the coin came up Michigan, so I’ll take the Wolverines, but this one could go either way.

Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24

Akron (0-0) at Nebraska (0-0)

Lincoln, NE

Saturday, September 1st, 8:00 PM

Line: NEB -24

And so the Scott Frost era begins for Nebraska. I like Frost and think he’ll help stabilize the Cornhuskers, but I don’t know if they’ll ever continually rise about the 8-9 win range. Regardless, Akron should be an easy opening win for Big Red, and Nebraska covers.

Nebraska 42, Akron 14

BSD Challenge

Check out the staff’s picks below. For reference, the line used for the Penn State-Appalachian State was PSU -24. The masthead was unanimous for the following games:

  • Minnesota -18.5 over New Mexico State
  • Illinois -16.5 over Kent State
  • Indiana -10.5 over Florida International

That leaves ten games up for grabs:

Most people favor Purdue to cover against Northwestern, and Michigan State against Utah State. I’m the only one who thinks Western Kentucky stays somewhat competitive against Wisconsin, while three writers think Oregon State doesn’t get completely blown out of the water by Ohio State. Maryland isn’t being given much of a chance overall.

Rutgers is favored by most, while three people - myself included - think Appalachian State keeps the game competitive this weekend. Jared is on the Northern Illinois train, while most people think Notre Dame upends Michigan. Lastly, three people think Akron keeps the game close against Nebraska.

What do you think, dear reader? Who ya got in week one?